The Seahawks' next month provides some appetizing matchup, but also some real challenges. Following the bye week, beat writer Bob Condotta steps back and evaluates the road forward.
NFL schedules look like one thing when they are unveiled each April and another once the season begins as the perceptions of teams invariably begin to change.
The Seahawks’ bye week allows for something of a reset of their season.
But as Seattle comes back to action this week it also allows us to take a fresh view of the schedule that awaits.
So here is a list of the 10 games that remain, ranked in order of how appealing they appear from a watchability standpoint.
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It’s a schedule that also suddenly looks a little tougher than maybe it did a few weeks ago with teams like the Vikings, Panthers and Chargers rolling and Detroit also having rebounded from a slow start. Six of Seattle’s final 10 opponents have winning records and another is .500. In fact, Seattle’s next five games are against teams that now are a combined 22-9-1. Seattle’s three victories so far this year, meanwhile, have come against teams that are now a combined 5-15.
1. @ Los Angeles Rams, Nov. 11
The Rams continue to just steamroll everybody, moving to 7-0 with a rout of the 49ers on Sunday. It won’t be easy to get to 9-0 before playing Seattle, though, as the Rams play host to Green Bay and then play at the 5-1 Saints. The Seahawks will hope that the game might still have some NFC West meaning. At the least, it’ll be a chance for Seattle to show its close shave against L.A. two weeks ago was a true sign of progress.
2. vs. Kansas City Chiefs, Dec. 23
The emergence of Patrick Mahomes makes this game that much more intriguing than it might have seemed in April, when it was picked as a Sunday nighter on NBC. The Chiefs entered the weekend as the second-leading scoring offense in the league. Kansas City will have its “mini-bye’’ before playing Seattle, being home against the Chargers the previous Thursday.
3. vs. Green Bay Packers, Nov. 15
A game against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, and on a Thursday night, is more than enough to make this appealing. The 3-2-1 Packers have yet to lose at home this year or win on the road, and that latter stat might not change by the time they get to Seattle, with road contests the next two weeks against the Rams and Patriots.
4. vs. Minnesota Vikings, Dec. 10
After a sluggish start to the season, the Vikings are beginning to look like the Super Bowl contender they were projected as, having won their last three in a row, getting to 4-2-1 with a 20-point victory over the Jets on Sunday. The Vikings will play at the Patriots the week before the Monday nighter at Seattle.
5. @ Carolina Panthers, Nov. 25
The Panthers have won three of their past four — including a stunning rally from a 17-point deficit Sunday to beat the Eagles in Philly — to improve to 4-2 and look like a legit factor in the NFC playoff race. The home game against Seattle comes in the middle of a stretch of four of five on the road for the Panthers.
6. vs. Los Angeles Chargers, Nov. 4
The Chargers quietly have become one of the hottest teams in the NFL, winning four in a row to get to 5-2, capped off by the 20-19 victory Sunday over the Titans in London. The Chargers now have their bye next Sunday before facing Seattle, and also expect to get back standout defensive end Joey Bosa by the time they play the Seahawks — he missed the first seven games with a bone bruise in his left foot.
7. @ Detroit Lions, Oct. 28
Here’s another game that suddenly looks a little rougher than it did when the season began as Detroit has rallied from an 0-2 start to win three of the past four, including a 32-21 victory Sunday at Miami in which the Lions rushed for 248 yards, more than half of the 486 yards they had for the season coming into Sunday. It’s also a reunion with popular former Seahawks Golden Tate, Luke Willson and DeShawn Shead.
8. vs. San Francisco, Dec. 2
Boy, has the shine come off this game — enough so that you wonder if NBC is still going to want it in its Sunday night slot. Jimmy Garoppolo is done for the season and the 49ers are a huge disappointment at 1-6. And while the return of Richard Sherman to Seattle will give it some sizzle, that assuming Sherman will play. He has missed two games this season, including Sunday with a calf injury.
9. @ San Francisco, Dec. 16
Seattle’s only road trip in December is at least an easy one, and in a stadium where they are 4-0. But unless there are playoff implications — and there probably will be — only fans of these two teams will care much about this one.
10. vs. Arizona Cardinals, Dec. 30
The hope will be that this games means something for the Seahawks, who should be heavily favored to beat a reeling Arizona team that might be the worst in the NFL right now. Otherwise, seeing if Seattle can snap a three-game home losing streak against the Cardinals and ending the season on a winning note might be about all that will be interesting in this one.